More than 1.1 million American kids were diagnosed with COVID-19 during the week ending Jan. 20, new data show.
That’s 17% higher than the 981,000 cases diagnosed the week before and double the number from two weeks before that.
“As we approach the two-year anniversary of the pandemic, cases of COVID-19 among children and adolescents are the highest they have ever been,” said Dr. Moira Szilagyi, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). “These numbers are staggering.”
The figures are from the “Children and COVID-19: State Data Report,” which is updated every Monday by AAP and the Children’s Hospital Association.
Since the start of the pandemic, more than 10.6 million children have tested positive for COVID. More than 2 million of those cases were added in the past two weeks, according to the two organizations.
They noted that the data in their weekly report is limited, because it relies on how each state reports its cases.
Szilagyi said it’s more important than ever to practice effective disease prevention strategies.
“Wearing masks in public, isolating when sick, and vaccinating as many people as possible are critical ways we can all help contain the spread of this virus, prevent hospitalizations, and protect those who are most vulnerable,” she said in an AAP news release. “That includes children in the youngest age group of children, who still are waiting for a vaccine.”
Szilagyi said families have already been through so much and the burden has been especially high for those with kids under age 5.
“The pandemic has dramatically reduced the child care and early education services parents rely on so they can work, as programs suffer from staff shortages or intermittently close for safety reasons,” she pointed out. “Parents worried about virus exposure have kept their children at home, while others have had to run the risk of exposure to keep their jobs.”
Szilagyi said she’s hearing this from across the country, not only from parents but also from pediatricians. The doctors are “exhausted, worried and frustrated,” she added.
The AAP looks forward to the conclusion of vaccine trials for kids under age 5 so families have access to a safe, effective shot to protect them from the virus, Szilagyi said.
“Meanwhile, we urge everyone who is eligible now to be vaccinated as soon as possible,” she added.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has much more on COVID-19.
SOURCES: American Academy of Pediatrics, news release, Jan. 25, 2022